Congress May Raise Tobacco Buying Age to 21

Bipartisan support could put increase in current spending package
Photograph: Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — In a move that may suddenly raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 nationwide, Congress may change the federal standard when it passes its spending package, presumably before lawmakers leave for their holiday break, Politico reported.

Lawmakers brokered the larger spending deal earlier in the month, with nuances of the package still being finalized, the news source reported. But the move to increase the minimum buying age for tobacco and electronic cigarettes has bipartisan support, including from Democrats such as Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Tim Kaine of Virginia, as well as Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). On the Republican side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) supports it, as do National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

This year alone, fourteen states—Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Washington—have raised their minimum buying ages for tobacco products, according to NATO, Lakeville, Minn. Most increased it to 21, with Nebraska and New Hampshire raising it to 19.

At the state level, new excise taxes, flavor bans and other regulatory measures have hit the tobacco category in varying degrees in recent months, changing the competitive landscape for many retailers.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a CSP member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Related Content


More from our partners